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Super Bowl Underdogs: Highlighting the Best Plus-Money Bets

One final ride for Jason Logan's NFL Underdogs shines a light on several plus-money bets worth your attention in Super Bowl 56, including an all-Rams double result, Leonard Floyd getting to the Bengals QB, and more.

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2022 10:03 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Leonard Floyd Los Angeles Rams NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

When you write a weekly piece called “NFL Underdogs”, your anticipated Super Bowl bet is typecast worse than Samuel L. Jackson.

“You must love the Bengals, eh?”

No, Shawn, I don’t. You jerk.

That’s right, after 18 weeks and three rounds of postseason pups, I’m done taking the points and riding with the Los Angeles Rams as 4-point favorites in our Super Bowl picks.

It’s a heel turn normally seen in professional wrestling, but it doesn’t mean I’m bailing on backing every Super Bowl underdog. Given the massive menu of Big Game betting options, there are several alternative Super Bowl odds and Super Bowl player prop markets promising plus-money payouts — or underdogs — in terms of implied probability.

So, while the final column of the season (finishing 31-28 ATS) isn’t the usual offering, the process and the mission are still the same: back some dogs with bite. 

Good luck with all your Super Bowl 56 bets — favorites or underdogs — and thank you for following along this season. Enjoy the halftime show.

Best Plus-Money Bets for Super Bowl 56

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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As mentioned above, I’m siding with Los Angeles in Super Bowl LVI and expect the Rams to run over the Bengals on both sides of the ball. Not only is L.A.’s pass rush primed for a big day against the Bengals’ Swiss cheese O-line, but Sean McVay can ground-and-pound Cincy’s defensive front with a steady dose of the run game.  

In Los Angeles’ 15 wins this season (12 regular season and three playoff), it has trailed at the halftime break only twice (vs. the 49ers in the NFC Championship and at Baltimore in Week 17) and was tied after 30 minutes in two other victories (vs. Seattle in Week 15 and at Arizona in Week 14). 

The Rams own an average first-half edge of +3.9 points this season while the Bengals have barely kept their heads above water in the first two frames, with a margin of +0.2. Things get a little dicey in the second half – especially if Cincinnati is hanging around – as we’ve seen the Rams buckle and the Bengals surge in recent outings.

Double result odds — or halftime/fulltime as they’re tagged at some books — range in price from place to place, but bet365 is currently dealing a Rams/Rams double result at +115. That looks pretty good considering the current -200 moneyline squeeze on Los Angeles to win outright.

Any other? 

That’s anything other than a passing touchdown, which is the -200 option in this prop. Hell, “any other” could be anything: A pick-six, a kick return to the house, a scoop-and-score, or a rushing touchdown. It’ll be a rushing touchdown, who are we kidding?

You have two very capable quarterbacks on the field in Super Bowl LVI, but my betting narrative paints a handoff-heavy approach from McVay in the first half, as the Bengals drop eight and protect against the pass like they did versus Kansas City. 

The Rams haven’t had great success rushing in the postseason but that has more to do with facing three defenses ranked Top 4 in EPA allowed per rush. Now, Los Angeles takes on the turnstile run stop unit of Cincinnati, which is giving up almost six yards per carry in the playoffs. 

Once inside the red zone, Cincy will be spread out trying to keep tabs on all those top targets for Matthew Stafford, which should open up space for a handoff to a running back or even a quick QB keeper up the gut. If you buy into that, props like “Cam Akers to score a first-half TD” at +270 and Stafford at +900 to score a touchdown could be worth fliers.

As for Cincinnati’s offense, it’s butting heads with a Rams passing defense that allowed only 17 TD throws in the regular season and just three in the postseason so far. Los Angeles owns the No. 1 red zone passing defense DVOA at Football Outsiders but ranks out 19th in run defense DVOA inside its own 20-yard line, opening the door for Cincy RB Joe Mixon to rumble for a score.

I don’t know how this prop is paying plus-money considering how good Leonard Floyd is and how bad the Cincinnati offensive line is playing. Kudos to my Covers co-worker Rohit Ponnaiya for sniffing this sack prop out quickly after opening, as he also has action down on Floyd to record at least one sack in Super Bowl LVI. 

While Aaron Donald and Von Miller get all the attention, Floyd has just as good a shot at getting to Joe Burrow as those other two, finishing the year with 18 QB hits and 9.5 sacks, posting another against the Bucs in the Divisional Round. His stat sheet was goose eggs across the board in the NFC Championship Game, in terms of sacks and tackles, but the linebacker did register five pressures on Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The Bengals will throw extra bodies at Donald and Miller, and L.A. defensive coordinator Raheem Morris will line up Floyd one-on-one against Cincy right tackle Isaiah Prince, who doesn’t grade out well with the analytic soothsayers in terms of pass blocking. 

So much of this prop depends on who receives the opening kick to start the second half as well as the score of the game at the break. 

Should L.A. be up and get the ball first, McVay will go conservative and try to milk every second from every possession. But should the Rams be ahead (which I’m banking on — see double result bet above) and the Bengals start the third quarter with the ball, then Burrow is going to come out chucking.

Burrow threw eight of his 34 total touchdown passes in the third quarter during the regular season and has only one 3Q TD toss in the postseason so far, but this prop is paying almost 2/1 for something that’s very plausible. 

Los Angeles doesn’t give up many passing touchdowns but ranks 26th in third-down scoring defense (5.8 3Q ppg) and has allowed an average of 8.3 third-quarter points in the postseason. The Rams have an EPA allowed per drop back of +0.495 in the third quarter during the playoffs with opposing passers boasting a success rate of 54.8% in those frames. 

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